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Steve understands that while we’re trying to work our way out of this economic crisis, we have to hold the financial industry accountable to prevent the next one. That’s why Steve wrote a bill that would have taken back the bonuses paid to top executives at Wall Street firms – like AIG – that received federal bailout funds. (Source: Steve Israel For Congress Website)

Do you ever wonder where a self-proclaimed corporate raider and Occupy Wall Street supporter such as Congressman Steve Israel gets his campaign donations from? 
According to Open Secrets, Israel has raised $1,581,081 for this election cycle (2011-2012), of which $15,790 comes from small donors, the “average Joe” like you and me. 
 Another $965,850 was raised from his top 100 donors, an all-star team of big labor and big business; many of those businesses from industries, which based on his committee assignments, Israel  is supposed to be overseeing (including those Wall Street firms he talks about on his campaign site). The following takes a look at the donations to his reelection campaign and political action committee (PAC).  All of the raw data comes from Opensecrets.org, a non-partisan organization which tracks campaign donations for all candidates of all parties.

Big Labor: $190,600 of the $965,850 raised by the DNCC Chair (almost 20%) comes from Big Labor.  Labor is a huge supporter of most Democratic candidates, that’s why unions got exemptions for Obamacare the rest of us didn’t. It is also why union shops were given preferential treatment for stimulus construction projects (even though they represent about one/eight of total construction shops).

Union heads have better access to this President and the Democrats in Congress than the rest of America. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has bragged that he speaks to the President 4x or more a week.  As part of the Democratic Congressional Leadership, Israel has been well rewarded for his party’s support of Big Labor (as DNCC Chair Rep. Israel is number five in the House Democratic Party pecking order).

These are the Unions who have donated to Steve Israel’s Campaign:
Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Service Employees International Union, AFSCME, Asbestos Workers Union, Teamsters Union, United Transportation Union, Plumbers/Pipefitters Union, Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association,  Air Line Pilots Association, American Federation of Teachers, Sheet Metal Workers Union, National Electrical Contractors Association, Mason Tenders District Council of NY, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen,  National Air Traffic Controllers Association, National Association of Letter Carriers, Boilermakers Union,  Operating Engineers Local 138,  Operating Engineers Union, American Postal Workers Union, Communications Workers of America, Credit Union National Association and National Association of Postal Supervisors.
Wall Street:
Not only does Congressman Israel use Wall Street firms as his scape goat for the recession, but he also serves on the House Committee on Financial Services which is supposedly keeping an eye on Wall Street for the rest of us.  That why it is surprising that, after Unions, Congressman gets the biggest chunk of his campaign dollars from banks, investment firms, venture capitalists, big insurance and stock/commodity trading companies — in other words the same Wall Street firms he oversees. Wall Street invested $175,200 in Steve Israel so far this election cycle representing over 18% of his donations from the top 100.
Donors include; Barclays Capital, Bassuk Organization, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, BLS Investments, CBRE Holding, CME Group, DE Shaw & Co, Fortress Investment Group Holdings, Kessler Group,  New York Life Insurance, Proskauer Rose,  Renaissance Technologies,  Sterling & Sterling Insurance, Sutherland Capital Management, Topspin Partners, Virtu Financial

Defense Contractors:
The Defense of the United States is the most important thing the federal government does. Congressman Israel is very involved in overseeing defense and defense industries. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee and on the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.  His objectivity is called into question when you realize the Congressman receives $149,850 from Defense contractors (15.5% of his donations).
Among his defense contractor donations are; BAE Systems, Honeywell International,  Northrop Grumman,  Stidd Systems,  L-3 Communications,  Lockheed Martin, Boeing Co, Dasnet, AmerisourceBergen Corp, General Electric, United Technologies, Curtiss-Wright Corp,  and ITT Industries.
Israel also receives almost $39,000 from Big Health related companies such as Henry Schein Inc, the Community Oncology Alliance, the American Hospital Association, US Oncology and Sandata Technologies.  I am sure that it has nothing to do with his work in pushing through that big healthcare bill he didn’t read before he voted for its passage.

Big Law Firms:

Speaking of healthcare, do you want to know why there is no tort reform in the Obamacare bill? Democratic leaders like Steve Israel will tell you it’s because tort reform hurts the little guy. Sadly that has nothing to do with it, because Tort reform brings down healthcare costs, thus helping the little guy.

The real reason is that for the lack of tort reform is the Democrats get lots of cash from the legal industry. According to Open Secrets almost $1.5 trillion dollars was donated by the legal industry since 1990. Over 71% of those donations have gone to Democratic Party candidates and PACs. So don’t look at the $66,000 Steve Israel got from giant law firms as he is somehow being owned by these firms, think of as he is just following a Democratic Party tradition.

Long Island Congressman Steve Israel can be called Mr. Big. He gets the bulk of his campaign donations, from Big Labor and Big Corporations. Some of these companies operate in the very industries Congressman Israel is supposed to be overseeing.

DNCC Chair Israel’s reliance on campaign donations from the industries he is supposed to be overseeing cannot be good for his constituents. In the end, what is going to sway Steve Israel more, the $965 thousand from big labor and giant corporations, or the $15 thousand he got from folks like you and me? I think you know the answer.

In a few weeks I will publish Who Owns DNCC Chair Part 2: The search for earmarks.

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